Fresh from the success of his Hollywood film Life of Pi, Irrfan is now taking it easy. While chatting in his Versova bungalow about his upcoming film Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns, the actor says he has several international scripts lined up before him to read. But what he wants to really do now is an action film or a musical. An excerpt:
Tigmanshu and you are back together...
Yes, lamba gap ho gaya but it doesn’t seem so as Paan Singh Tomar released just last year. He has become busy and although I feel that I should reserve him for myself, it is not actually possible. Every person wants to grow in life and so does he. When he offered me Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns I did not even hear the script and said yes. I had loved the first part.
What makes your combination click?
We have been together since drama school. Kahi na kahi main uska kaam se fascinated hoon, as a creative person and also personally. It is natural and we have immense mutual respect for each other’s work. There are some things in his writing that strike me and his work somehow brings out the best in me. We have a relationship, which has gone through various ups and downs in the past few years.
Does that mean you have had fights with him?
Yes, many! We have had huge fights. In fact most of the times when we have fights, he says some things that I don’t like. Kuch na kuch panga hota rehta hai.
How important is money for you at this stage of your career?
Money is always important. But more important is what you sacrifice when you do films for money. I would do a film with lesser money if the project is rewarding. This clarity dawned on me a long time back and I don’t do films only for money. Sometimes I don’t even take money. In Saat Khoon Maaf, I was not paid at all, as they wanted to use that money in the production.
You have managed to create your own space as an actor
I am in a space where I could work with directors I want to work with. I regularly upgrade myself as an actor and it is an ongoing struggle. I keep looking for such films where it can do justice to my calibre and me. Things have changed and business has increased. But we are short of good writers and directors right now.
So you feel that the scenario will change further for parallel cinema?
Audiences are there and they wanted to see these films, many of which were seen last year. Let us see if it also happens this year. If it repeats then it means they are ready.
How do you decide which film to do?
The story and how I am placed in the film, the production house and sometimes I also consider if I would have a good time doing the film. Many a time, I have refused a film that was very interesting, as the stories were very dark or the world of the character was such that I did not want to associate with it. For example I love Homi Adajania and his work but every time he comes to me I feel that I don’t want to be in that space. Though I love his stories. Sometimes I want to do inspirational things. And when I am offered a film where I am shown as a loser, I won’t do it irrespective of how good the script is.
What’s happening on the international front?
I am reading a few interesting scripts. Some are very interesting and I will take a call in the coming months. I also have some films lined up.
Your old friend Nawazuddin Siddiqui has now become a bankable star...
Yes, because interesting films are being made and that’s why they are being consumed. It is an exciting time for everyone… not only Nawaz but many actors have the opportunity to make an impact.
You are also going to start producing films?
Yes I am doing co-productions. Lunch Box is one film that I am co-producing. I will back the projects that require me and I am ready to take on that responsibility.
Any characters that you still long to do?
Yes, I want to do a film in the action genre and a musical.